Given their extensive media exposure, stories about celebrity cancer survivorsare abundant. Every year cancer takes the lives of huge numbers of people across the globe. It has no prejudice, striking down young and old, black and white, rich and poor alike. This means that celebrities are just as likely to be affected by cancer as the rest of us
However as with any other case of cancer, many celebrities get through their ordeal and come back as strong as ever. The only real difference with celebrity cancer survivors is that they can be seen back in the public eye and are a clear inspiration to other people who are suffering to not give up hope, and that it is possible to beat the disease.
Here is a list of just a few celebrity cancer survivors who demonstrate that it is possible to win the cancer fight.
Robert de Niro has had an amazing career as a movie star. In 2003, at the age of 60 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Regular checkups to test for the disease meant he was diagnosed in its early stages.
In addition to his excellent physical condition, this gave him a very good chance of recovery. Now more than 5 years later he is still cancer-free. De Niro’s story serves to highlight the importance of regular screening and early detection for surviving cancer
Lance Armstrong is one of the most well-known celebrity cancer survivors. At a young age he was already winning races. However, in October 2006 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Not only that, but it had spread to his lungs, and brain. His prognosis was not good.
Despite this, he fought with everything he had and went on to win the Tour De France an amazing seven times. Armstrong has been quoted as saying: “Anything’s possible….as long as you take that chance and believe in yourself, and be a brave person, and want to live, and want to be better than you were before… I’m living proof that we get second chances, and the second time around is better than the first.”
Fran Drescher is best known for her role as Fran Fine in the Nanny. Her cancer story starts with two years of symptoms and misdiagnosis. Finally, in June 2000 she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She underwent an immediate radical hysterectomy to treat the disease and needed no further treatments after that.
She wrote about her experiences in a book, Cancer Schmancer. Her purpose for this book was to raise consciousness for both men and women to become more aware of what the early warning signs of cancer are and to empower themselves.
In 2007 Drescher announced the launch of the Cancer Schmancer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all women’s cancers be diagnosed at Stage 1, the most curable stage. For more information see her website at cancerschmancer.org.
Kylie Minogue, the Australian singer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Her cancer was also initially misdiagnosed. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy and has since returned to her normal life. Her misdiagnosis should serve to remind us to make sure that we are receiving the right tests to diagnose cancer, and if they are not satisfied with the verdict of their doctor, to seek a second opinion. Other celebrity cancer survivors who have beaten breast cancer include Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Olivia Newton-John and Anastacia.
Kathy Bates is an oscar winning actress known for her role as Molly Brown in the hit Titanic, amongst others. In 2003, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At the time, Bates kept her battle private, choosing to not tell the public about her diagnosis and treatment. She has since said she regretted this decision, thinking that she may have helped more people seek out a diagnosis since ovarian cancer is such a difficult disease to diagnose early.
She has now starred in a public service announcement and aims to spread awareness about trying to stay in tune with our bodies and getting tested for anything that doesn’t seem right. Many celebrity cancer survivors also utilize their fame to raise awareness for the disease, encourage people to seek treatment and organize fundraisers to help find a cure.
One might imagine that with their incomes celebrities can afford the best treatments, but they are also subjected to a stress that the rest of us aren’t: fame. Their battles are never private – they are forever published, speculated about and photographed for everyone to see. This surely makes their cancer journey that much harder, nevertheless celebrity cancer survivors demonstrate that indeed the battle can be won. Together with a support group, loving friends and family and a positive attitude you can beat it too.